HÀ NỘI — The 37th ASEAN Summit and related summits wrapped up on Sunday with more than 80 documents adopted to concretise the joint efforts of ASEAN member states and their partners in strengthening co-operation against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of adopted documents was the largest in the history of all ASEAN meetings, said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
They included the Mid-term Review of ASEAN Community Vision 2025 Blueprints; ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework; ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Strengthening ASEAN Plus Three Co-operation for Economic and Financial Resilience in the Face of Emerging Challenges; and the Hà Nội Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit.
“All initiatives proposed by Việt Nam at the summits, as the ASEAN Chair 2020, were discussed, approved and warmly welcomed by ASEAN leaders and partners. Initiatives on establishing ASEAN COVID-19 Respond Fund, ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies and ASEAN Regional Centre on Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases received donations from many countries,” said Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng.
Vietnamese PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said more than 20 meetings during the 37th ASEAN Summit discussed practical issues for nearly 630 million ASEAN citizens, focusing on COVID-19 response and economic recovery after the pandemic to realise the dual targets of pandemic prevention, control and production revitalisation, creating jobs for local people. The initiatives adopted realise the spirit of “not leaving anyone behind”, narrowing development gaps and integrating sub-Mekong region co-operation into regional collaboration.
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) holds a significant meaning to not only ASEAN but also global trade, helping minimise impacts caused by global supply chain disruption, promote trade flow within ASEAN and between ASEAN and its partners, Phúc said.
“ASEAN countries always welcome India’s return to the trade deal and will create favourable conditions for India if India wants to join.
“After the signing, RCEP member countries will follow their internal process to ratify the deal,” PM Phúc told media at the press conference.
ASEAN leaders also discussed regional peace and security issues, especially in maritime co-operation.
“Leaders affirmed that during the challenging time in the post-COVID-19 period, co-operation to ensure peace and stability has become more urgent than ever. The respect for laws, sovereignty and legitimate rights of nations was highlighted, looking towards building a peaceful and stable South China Sea (called East Sea by Việt Nam) and ensuring navigation and aviation freedom based on international laws, especially UNCLOS 1982.”
The summit and related meetings “have regarded dialogues as tools and put co-operation at the centre”, opening a new path for ASEAN, elevating ASEAN relationships with partners towards co-operation for peace and prosperity, Phúc said.
“2020 is such a tough year with a heavy workload in the context of the pandemic. After more than five decades since its establishment, ASEAN continues to affirm the power of solidarity, resilience and adaptability to flexibly respond to challenges,” the PM said. — VNS
We care, we prepare, we prosper
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Sunday handed over the 2021 ASEAN Chairmanship to Brunei Darussalam.
Brunei has chosen “We care, we prepare, we prosper” as the 2021 Chairmanship’s theme and will promote three fundamental areas inspired by ASEAN’s long history of development: “Caring for our people and each ASEAN member country’s wellbeing; preparing for future opportunities and challenges; prospering together as a unified region,” said Pengiran Haji Sahari bin Pengiran Haji Salleh, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Việt Nam.
ASEAN must continue to co-operate and innovate even during challenges. Brunei hopes the three priority areas will strengthen ASEAN’s resilience and reinforce ASEAN centrality as well as accelerate ASEAN’s efforts to recover from the pandemic and realise the ambition of an inclusive ASEAN community, he said.
“Support and contributions of our dialogue partners are important to Brunei. We will keep working with our partners through various ASEAN mechanisms and uphold multilateralism and the rule of laws,” he said. VNS